Eat Drink RI Festival: April 25 – 28, 2018 | All-Local Celebration of Everything Edible returns for a 7th Year

by David Dadekian
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Eat Drink RI Festival logo

The 7th Annual Eat Drink RI Festival is a celebration showcasing the best of the culinary world in Rhode Island. Presenting farmers, chefs, bartenders and food & drink artisans from across the region, this year’s Festival offers a brand new wine tasting experience, the return of Dinner by Dames, the largest food truck event in the area, and culminates with the Grand Tasting, an All-Local Tasting featuring even more culinary & beverage presentations than before. Tickets and more information can be found at

This year’s festival kicks off with Rhode Island’s first Sommelier Smackdown at the gorgeous, newly renovated Café at Easy Entertaining! This brand new event is co-hosted by Certified Sommeliers Ian Magiros of M.S. Walker and Jonathan Feiler of Rhode Island Distributing. The Smackdown will pit Certified Sommeliers Justin Bothur of Ocean House and Weekapaug Inn, Alan Freudeman of Gracie’s, Ali Innes of bin 312 wine cellar, and Alí Quero of Los Andes against each other in a wine theory quiz, a blind wine tasting, and a food & wine pairing collaboration with a local chef. Guests will vote on the fan favorite pairing and judges will tally the points of all three components of the competition to decide who reigns supreme in RI’s wine world. Tickets include wine tastings, food & wine pairing, and hors d’oeuvres.

One of Rhode Island’s most popular dining series, Dinner by Dames, returns on the Thursday evening of the Festival. This dining experience brings together five of Rhode Island’s most talented chefs—Melissa Denmark of Gracie’s and Ellie’s Bakery, Jordan Goldsmith of Moonrose Farm, Maria Meza of El Rancho Grande, Ashley Vanasse of Easy Entertaining Inc. and Jessica Wood of Fire and Water Restaurant Group—for a multi-course dining event. For the 2018 Eat Drink RI Festival three guest chef Dames are joining the team: Lisa Lofberg of Little Moss, Rebecca Lentrichia of Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel and Caitlyn McGuire of Ellie’s Bakery.

To make the evening that much more special, Jen Davis of The Eddy, along with a group of RI’s top bartenders—Cassie Coutard of Courtland Club and New Harvest Coffee & Spirits, Megan Freitas, Sam Royds of Gracie’s, Elizabeth Sawtelle of Nicks on Broadway, Britt Simons of Persimmon and Kayleigh Speck of The East End—are creating cocktail pairings for each course with spirits very kindly provided by Origin Beverage Co. Dinner by Dames will once again be held at the beautiful Skyline at Waterplace in downtown Providence. In addition, Dinner by Dames coincides with this year’s Paint the Town RED to benefit AIDS Care Ocean State and Eat Drink RI is proud to donate a portion of Dames proceeds to ACOS.

Every year the Truck Stop to benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank continues to grow! The event is back at the Food Bank’s huge lot in Providence with twenty-three mobile food vendors and a trio of local beverage greats! This sixth annual Truck Stop showcases even more of the excellence and variety of Rhode Island’s mobile restaurants, features local musicians the Superchief Trio, and also benefits an organization dedicated to ending hunger. Trucks include: Citizen Wing, Friskie Fries, GottaQ Smokehouse BBQ, Noble Knots, Portu-Galo and more.

The Eat Drink RI Festival Grand Tasting features samplings of over sixty locally produced beer, wine & spirits, as well as an abundance of local food artisans in Hall D of the Rhode Island Convention Center. Grand Tasting participants include: American Mussel Harvesters, Jonathan Edwards Winery, Los Andes, Narragansett Creamery, Revival Brewing Company, Seven Stars Bakery, Yacht Club Soda and so many more.

During the Tasting there will be all-new local food & drink presentations on the Frigidaire Professional Presentation Stage sponsored and provided by Wickford Appliance featuring Rhode Island’s top chefs paired with a local producer to wow attendees with some of the best food in the country, all included with admission to the Grand Tasting.

  • Easy Entertaining’s Chef Ashley Vanasse and Narragansett Creamery’s Pattie & Mark Federico
  • Nicks on Broadway’s Chef Derek Wagner and Blackbird Farm’s Ann Marie Bouthillette
  • Tallulah’s Taqueria’s Chef Jake Rojas and American Mussel Harvesters

In addition, a 2nd food & drink presentation area has been added at this year’s Grand Tasting. Get a floor-level, up-close look at the detail work & techniques of these chefs and artisans with this more interactive and intimate show area.

  • Pastaio’s Chef Adam Baffoni on Pasta
  • Ellie’s Bakery’s Chefs Melissa Denmark and Caitlyn McGuire on Decorating Desserts
  • El Rancho Grande’s Joaquin Meza on Cocktails

The key to the Eat Drink RI Festival is that it is dedicated to showcasing Rhode Island food and drink. This Festival, unlike many others, is about local chefs, bartenders, farmers, brewers, distillers, producers and more—the people who have elevated Rhode Island to national renown for its culinary scene. Tickets and more information can be found at

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